HIA-LI, one of Long Island’s largest business advocacy organizations, attracted more than 2,000 business professionals from across the region to its 34th Annual Business Trade Show and Conference on May 26 at the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
More than 150 exhibitors participated in Long Island’s largest business-to-business trade show. They represented regional business sectors including technology, energy and environment, manufacturing, finance, hospitality, healthcare, media and advertising, education, government, and workforce development. Reflecting their positive experience at the event, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees taking part in a post-show survey ranked its value at a robust 8.5 on a scale of one to ten.
The event was highlighted by a sold-out Executive Breakfast featuring a panel of prominent Long Island business leaders. The panel addressed noteworthy Long Island projects that hold the potential to revitalize the area’s economy.
Moderated by Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, panel members included Scott Burman, Principal with Engel Burman; Joe Campolo, Managing Partner at Campolo Middleton & McCormick LLP; Jim Coughlan, Principal at TRITEC; and Richard J. Zapolski, a Partner with Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP. Campolo and Coughlan are both HIA-LI board members.
The panelists’ and audience’s attention was chiefly centered upon a planned, $2.8-billion public/private project called Midway Crossing in Ronkonkoma. The multi-faceted, 179-acre development would create a transportation-oriented hub comprised of 1.4 million square feet of office space geared toward bio-tech, research, healthcare and STEM education, and a convention center with a 108,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, and 20,000 square feet of meeting rooms.
Plans for Midway Crossing also include a 300-room hotel, 250,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a new, 300,000-square-foot north terminal at Islip MacArthur Airport that would be connected to the Ronkonkoma station of the Long Island Rail Road.
Other projects of regional significance that were discussed include growth at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, the Ronkonkoma Hub, downtown Bay Shore, and downtown Long Beach – all vital projects that give young professionals options to live, work, and play on Long Island.
“Because Long Island companies conduct so much business with one another, in-person events like this hold significant value for our regional economy,” said Terri Alessi-Miceli, HIA-LI President and CEO. “New relationships are kindled, and existing relationships are reinforced. The favorable results of our exhibitor survey clearly demonstrate the benefits this annual trade show delivers.”
This year’s HIA-LI Trade Show introduced a new feature: a “Manufacturing Pavilion” that focused on labor challenges, supply chains, automation, marketing, and other issues facing Long Island’s manufacturing sector.
“Manufacturing is alive and well on Long Island,” commented Rich Humann, Chairman of the HIA-LI board and President and CEO of H2M architects + engineers. “With advances in automation and robotics, it’s an industry sector that’s on a precipice of real growth and transformation.”
The show also offered a full schedule of complimentary seminars and breakout sessions covering an array of business topics.